Providing access to college education to prison inmates has been a controversial issue for a long time. The reason why some people used to oppose prison education was that taxpayers supported imprisoned members of society. However, lack of education and employment causes higher recidivism rates resulting in more money spent on repeated incarceration. Therefore, in 2015, President Obama’s administration passed the order according to which prison inmates could have access to college courses (Bozick et al. 407). This policy may have substantial benefits for prisoners and society. College education should be permitted in prisons to reduce recidivism, improve post-release employment, and prepare prison inmates as responsible community members.
College education in prison improves the overall outcomes of correctional facilities. There are three main reasons why prison inmates should have access to college courses. First, education in prison was found to reduce recidivism rates. For example, a meta-analysis about the role of education programs in prison identified that the participants of these programs were about 30% less likely to return to prison than those who did not have access to correctional education programs (Bozick et al. 390). Second, learning college courses can prepare prison inmates for the job market to find a high-paid positions. Although no statistically significant difference was found between employment rates of former convicts, obtaining knowledge and skills provides an opportunity for better employment and thus better quality of life (Bozick et al. 408). Third, college courses can transform prison inmates and prepare them to become responsible members of society. Many incarcerated people remain at the adolescent stage of development with anti-social tendencies (Bozick et al. 402). Therefore, involving them in college education that requires discipline, critical thinking, and communication may help prisoners mature and contribute to the common good.
Overall, providing access to college courses for imprisoned citizens is beneficial for the country. Although opening access to these courses may require additional funding, it will bring enormous benefits to society. College education can help to improve employment rates among released convicts. Employment and adequate living conditions should help reduce recidivism rates. Finally, involving prison inmates in organized college courses will ensure their rehabilitation and transformation into trustworthy citizens.
Bozick, Robert, et al. “Does Providing Inmates with Education Improve Postrelease Outcomes? A Meta-Analysis of Correctional Education Programs in the United States.” Journal of Experimental Criminology, vol. 14, no. 3, 2018, pp. 389-428. Web.